Nature is calling and Bears must go: Outdoor Adventure hosts getaway trips

Outdoor Adventure offers trips with a variety of outdoor activities that students can be a part of. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Baylor’s campus recreation program, Outdoor Adventure, offers a variety of getaway trips for students during the fall semester. Outdoor activities featured on these trips include kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and more.

Cody Schrank, associate director of campus recreation, said there are local trips students can take with Outdoor Adventure if they don’t want to travel far or be gone too long.

“[One trip is] called the Pedal Paddle, and that’s where you go to the Marina and you ride a bike up to Cameron Park and you get on a kayak and you kayak back to the Marina, so that’s a Saturday morning trip, and it’s about three hours,” Schrank said. “There’s also some clinics too that people might be interested in, like a sailing clinic at the Marina, and there’s rock climbing clinics.”

Schrank said there are also day trips students can go on if they want to spend a little longer in the outdoors.

“There’s two day trips,” Schrank said. “There’s a whitewater kayak day trip that happens Saturday, Nov. 30, and then there’s a day trip rock climbing that’s Nov. 11. The climbing trip in November, I don’t think that registration has opened up yet, so it’ll have spots opened for it.”

For the trips that happen over Baylor’s fall break, from Oct. 12 to 15, Schrank said there are very few spots left.

“The ones that students could sign up for are whitewater kayaking, which has a few spots left; climbing in Oklahoma, that’s in the Wichita Mountains, and that one is currently full; and backpacking in Arkansas, and that one is currently full,” Schrank said.

Abigail Sawer, coordinator for Outdoor Adventure, said the shorter trips are able to give students a small-scale experience to decide if they want to do a bigger adventure.

“Some of the feedback that one of my staff gave last year is they went on a day trip, and it just gave them the taste to want to do a little bit more,” Sawer said. “And so then they ended up going on the whitewater kayaking fall break trip … and then [were] able to practice their skills and have a good time.”

Sawer said many of the Outdoor Adventure trips are led by student staff, which allows students to learn and hang out with their peers.

“Our student guides, who are part of our student leadership program within the department, they take it a little bit further,” Sawer said. “So they are the ones that are primarily leading our day trips — also, obviously, in collaboration with a professional staff member or grad student who also has expertise or experience in that area. The belay clinics, the sailing clinics, the mountain bike trail rides — all of those are all student-led, which is really awesome. So you can learn from your peers and have a great time.”

The environment of most of these trips is beginner-friendly, Schrank said, and students don’t have to have any experience to sign up. Schrank also said that for many of the big trips, there are at least two meetings and a physical component before the trip.

“One [meeting] will be where you get to know the other students, you find out what to bring. … And then your second meeting will be you bring all the things you think you should bring, so like help people get prepared,” Schrank said. “There’s often a physical activity component to it to make sure that you are physically but also mentally prepared — so the backpacking trips, it’s often run the Bear Trail in 25 minutes.”

The main thing an Outdoor Adventure trip requires of students is to bring their own clothes and shoes, Schrank said.

“We got everything else,” Schrank said. “Backpacks, tents, sleeping bag, cook gear, kayaks, canoes, ice climbing gear — so all that stuff, we either have it at Baylor or we include it in the price and rent it.”

Schrank said there are many different benefits that students get from participating in the Outdoor Adventure trips.

“One, they’re going to get an experience that they might not otherwise have gotten on their own,” Schrank said. “Or to have professionals who do this — and it’s their job to help lead and guide them on the trip — it’s going to be a cost savings. They’re going to get to places that they might never have gone. [It will also] get you outside of you comfort zone a little bit, makes you stretch, helps you grow.”

Outdoor Adventure experiences are unique because of the accessible opportunities they offer students, Sawer said.

“The breadth of offerings that we offer in a school in the heart of Texas is very unique to our location, but also the depth of knowledge and experience that our student staff and professional staff have to bring people along on the journey is also very cool,” Sawer said. “I would say that we do a pretty good job of equipping people who want to go [on trips] and giving a lot of experiences at an affordable rate for students, whether it’s our fall break trips, our spring break trips. It’s a great place for people to find out what they like to do and what they don’t like to do — things that they never knew that could be their passions in a way that is very accessible.”

Students can sign up for any of the Outdoor Adventure trips, classes or events on the Campus Recreation website.